About

Our team of guides are committed to our
Chef + Sommelier driven tours

F

irst-class wines, delicious eats and the intimacy of a private tour make the Free Range journeys through the Okanagan unique and memorable outings. No other tour offers gourmet cuisine, knowledgeable guides and access to premium wines the way Free Range does.

With Free Range Tours you’ll discover examples of the Okanagan’s best wines, while enjoying the cuisine of Top Chef Canada’s Chris Shaften. At each winery, while you enjoy an exclusive tasting experience, our guides will be assembling a dining area and gourmet dish to match a beautiful bottle of the wineries’ premium, often off-list wines. No other tour experiences will be providing a taste of these wines.

We started Free Range Tours because what’s missing is a real connection to the winery, winemaker, the land, and what makes the Okanagan special.

 

Chris Shaften, Executive Chef & Director of Operations

A Top Chef 3 competitor, entrepreneur and flavour junkie, Chris’ culinary career has included working everywhere from ski towns, fishing resorts, hyper local restaurants in Victoria, Toronto, Calgary and Australia. With a focus on connecting his customers to the local region, Chris has created a signature style that is the backbone of his private dining business, and the inspiration behind Krafty Kitchen and Bar, his first restaurant in Kelowna B.C.

His culinary experience is an important part of our Free Range Tours, but it is also his ambition to please and entertain people that is the driving force behind the Free Range experience. Each Free Range tour is crafted similarly to that of his private dinners, from selecting the best local market products to deciding what story is best to tell. In the end the experiences Chris creates are not only unique, but they ooze of personality, thoughtfulness, passion and pride.

When not hard at work cooking for others or administrating his businesses, you can find Chris “living in the moment” and on the hunt for anything “delicious”. An avid traveller and lover of all things that are tasty, Chris finds himself taking five day trips to Paris to catch a hip hop show, and a Michelin star meal in Bordeaux, or on a back packing adventure through Southeast Asia en route to Margaret River, for a week of surfing and wine exploration. When not travelling Chris loves time with his beautiful girlfriend, cats, and a library of cookbooks that take up an entire room in his Calgary home.

Chris’ passion for hospitality and deliciousness make food and wine paired tours a natural and deeply gratifying experience for him to curate. His attention to detail, uncompromising attitude and deep desire to connect you to what he is most passionate about, not only makes him indispensable to Free Range Tours, but the Okanagan food and wine scene as well.

 

Mia Papadopoulos, Wine Director & Curator-in-Chief

When Mia moved to the Okanagan, it was like a bomb went off in the wine world. With her outgoing personality and free-range attitude, she was quick to make friends and became a recognizable face among winemakers and chefs alike. Originally from Edmonton, Mia has been an important figure in the Okanagan restaurant and winery scene since 2014, when she opened Krafty Kitchen and Bar as General Manager/Sommelier.

She founded Free Range Tours alongside Chris Shaften, a natural intersection of her passion for hospitality, wine and the Okanagan lifestyle. Together they curate Free Range Tours, but it is Mia’s passion, wine knowledge and insider connections that elevate the tours above any other.

Mia holds a bachelor of business in Financial Management and is Level 3 certified in WSET wine education. Mia is continuing her wine studies with aspirations of becoming a certified Master Sommelier.

Over the years Mia has spent countless hours “staging” in fine dining establishments, including a three day stage at “Chez Panisse” in Berkeley and a two week stage at “Coi” in San Francisco under acclaimed Chef Daniel Patterson. Her education does not conclude with work, as a key to her development has always been her travels.

Mia travels relentlessly in her time off to amazing wine regions with Michelin starred restaurants. Mia has spent a fair amount of time in California, New York, Spain and New Orleans, where she has studied the cuisine, service and offerings of some of the worlds greatest restaurants including, Arzak and Mugaritz in Spain, The French Laundry and Gary Danko in California, Eleven Madison Park and Per Se in New York, and Antoine’s and Restaurant August In New Orleans along with many, many more.

When she is not honing her professional skills in the barrel room of a winery or the chef’s table in a Michelin star dining room, Mia enjoys the outdoors, spending time with her boyfriend and loved ones.

Mia thrives on the excitement of unique challenges and the satisfaction of creating a perfect guest experience. For Mia, hospitality is about more than just meeting the needs, or supplying the bare minimum, it’s about blowing the mind of her guests. Her natural charisma and infectious attitude make Mia one of those people you want to call on for fun, food and wine. And luckily for Free Range Tours, she builds that feeling into each one of her curated tours.